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Silencer or Amplifier? The European Union Presidency and the Nordic Countries

Scandinavian Political Studies 27 (3): 311, 2004

24 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2012  

Rikard Bengtsson

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Ole Elgstrom

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Jonas Tallberg

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

How did the three Nordic European Union member states approach their periods as holders of the European Union (EU) Council Presidency? Two radically different predictions about the impact of the Presidency on member state behaviour can be found in the literature. Some maintain that the position functions as an amplifier, strengthening the already existing tendency to propagate national concerns. Others argue that the Presidency functions as a silencer, subordinating national material interests to the benefit of common European concerns. In this article we analyse the ways in which Finland, Sweden and Denmark actually performed the Presidency role. Which of the competing interpretations is most appropriate? Was the Presidency role performed differently by the three countries? Our main finding is that the Presidency generally functioned as an amplifier during the Nordic presidencies. There are, however, interesting differences between the three states, Denmark being the least constrained in using the Presidency to further national interests whereas Finland was most anxious not to violate norms of impartiality and neutrality, even in cases where such behaviour ran contrary to national interests.

Keywords: European Union, Nordic states, Presidency, chairmanship, Sweden, Denmark, Finland

Suggested Citation

Bengtsson, Rikard and Elgstrom, Ole and Tallberg, Jonas, Silencer or Amplifier? The European Union Presidency and the Nordic Countries (2004). Scandinavian Political Studies 27 (3): 311, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2180562

Rikard Bengtsson

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 52
Lund
Sweden

Ole Elgstrom

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
046-222 89 47 (Phone)

Jonas Tallberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

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